Castleford’s Crooks joins Leigh on loan

Ben Crooks.
Ben Crooks.

Castleford Tigers have confirmed that Ben Crooks is to join Leigh Centurions on a season long loan.

The deal will see the 23-year-old centre join the newly promoted Centurions for the whole of 2017.

Crooks will join up with Neil Jukes’ squad for pre-season training and has no restrictions in his deal, enabling him to be available for the round one clash at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle between the Tigers and the Centurions on Friday, February 10.

The centre scored six tries and kicked one goal in 28 appearances for the Tigers as they finished fifth in Super League in 2016.

He joined the Tigers last season from NRL side Parramatta Eels on a three-year deal until 2018.

After emerging through their academy ranks, he made his Super League debut for Hull FC in 2012 and in the following season was chosen for the Dream Team after scoring 20 tries in 22 games and forming a prolific partnership with Tom Lineham.

Tigers head coach Daryl Powell said: “Ben had a really solid first season with us last year and played a number of games in the first team, however with the return to fitness of Michael Shenton and the emergence of Greg Minikin as a quality centre, I thought it was really important that Ben played consistent rugby league game time.

“This loan move gives him a great opportunity to do that at Leigh next season. I’m confident that Ben will continue to improve throughout the next Super League season and wish him all the best in 2017 at Leigh Centurions.“

Leigh Centurions head coach Neil Jukes said: “I am delighted to secure Ben’s services for the forthcoming season. He is a young, talented and athletic player with his best years ahead of him and has already packed a great deal into his career.

“The coaching staff identified Ben as a perfect fit for our model and when Castleford gave us permission to speak to him we outlined the challenges we face and the ambitions we have for our club and how we saw his role.

“Ben was persuaded to join us and the very fact that a player of his ability feels he can achieve his ambitions at Leigh Centurions is testament to the way our club has developed over the past year.

“I’d like to thank Daryl Powell and everyone at Castleford and also Ben’s agent David Howes for their assistance in this loan arrangement.”